22But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!Galatians 5:22-23
Last week I wrote about love. Not the kind of love displayed in Hallmark Christmas movies or the love expressed for dark chocolate peanut clusters, but agape love. The unconditional love that doesn’t depend on circumstances or behavior but on God’s character. It is the kind of love dreamt about but not easily known or expressed as humans.
This week I explored joy. The kind of joy that gives strength does not depend on circumstances or people. It is a deep reservoir of cold, clear refreshment that satisfies the soul and enables one to give praise in the midst of difficulties. It is the quality that enables one to do hard things with grace and determination. And it depends on the Holy Spirit.
In Psalm 107, the psalmist utilizes a refrain throughout the psalm, like a chorus. It bears repeating here. He begins the psalm with a question followed by a command: “Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!” He goes on to expound on all the ways God has been with them and follows each account with this refrain:
Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them.Psalm 107:8, 15, 21, 31
Do you know what happens when I speak of the hope I have in salvation, God’s unconditional love for me and his joy that gives me strength? Two things happen. First, telling someone else seals it in my heart and mind. I experience it over and over again as I rehearse his faithfulness to me.
Secondly, it encourages the other. This week I had the privilege of sitting with a friend who recently experienced great loss. For three hours we talked of all the ways God has shown up and showed off in the midst of loss. I went away encouraged. It affirmed God’s goodness to me. My joy increased. My hope soared and I saw God’s unconditional love at work.
This is the challenge I want to end with this week — talk about the wonderful things God has done for you. Tell someone about the hope salvation gives you. Recall the ways He loves you unconditionally. Share the joy He gives you with another and see what He does in you.
Not sure if you have anything to share? Sometimes it takes an outside perspective to see where He is at work. You can ask Jesus how he has been present in your life. If that seems odd, ask a close friend or trusted spiritual advisor to help you identify His movement in your life.
I wish you a blessed worship time this weekend whatever you are doing. Find some time to sit with Jesus, whether in corporate worship or on your own. It will be time well spent!